Solvay said it is developing a groundbreaking hydrogen peroxide product for use in aseptic packaging technology that leaves no residue on equipment.
The Belgium-based company said it is aiming to complete final testing on the product this summer with a launch date scheduled for October 2012.
If successful, the firm said the solution would cut both downtime and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of equipment as fillers would not be forced to stop production in order to clean the residue that habitually forms on the inside of machinery.
The product, almost three years in the pipeline, is currently under final development at the firm’s research laboratories in Brussels and the Netherlands.
“This would be the first of its kind in the aseptic packaging industry”, company sales and marketing manager Isabelle Gonnissen told FoodProductionDaily.com from the show floor at last week’s Anuga FoodTec in Cologne, Germany.
Hydrogen peroxide is a sterilizing agent used in the aseptic packaging process. Its strong oxidizing properties make it effective in killing micro-organism. The chemical reacts with membrane lipids and proteins, causing cell membrane rupture. The substance is mixed into a water-based solution at a concentration of between 25% and 35%.
Downtime and TCO reductions
“The hydrogen peroxide used in aseptic packaging needs to be pure,” said Gonnissen. “But because its chemical structure decomposes when exposed to heat, it is necessary to add stabilizers to prevent this occurring and it is this element that leads to the build-up of residue.”
The aseptic process involves two techniques – either passing the package through a bath or inserting a nozzle to spray the interior of the container with the chemical.
“One of the most common issues is that the nozzles become blocked as residue builds up,” she said. "But we are aiming to produce hydrogen peroxide with a new stabilizer that will never leave residue and block the nozzle.”
Gonnissen added: “This will be a major advance in aseptic packaging technology and result in a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership. We are confident that we will be successful in our aim of developing a residue-free hydrogen peroxide product.”